Addition word problems are a great way to practice solving equations using real world examples. Use these addition to 20 word problem cards as a math center, brain break or small group activity. Kinders and first graders will love problem solving!

Ready for more math practice?  Try our Place Value Cover Up activity in our shop!

Why Word Problems?

The most common reason for doing word problems is to solve common, everyday occurrences such as “How much money do I need this week if I have to buy a bus ticket each day?'”

But the next reason is to encourage children to think logically and to use abstract thinking.

The process of reading the question, trying to understand it, re-clarifying and finally calculating an answer requires children to stop and think more carefully about the problem they are solving. It has the added benefit of giving children more practice in reading and comprehension.

This, of course, can be problematic for speakers of other languages, and we need to be sensitive to how hard these children have to work just to understand the question, let alone solve it.

One aspect to consider when using word problems is to have a little variety in how the questions need to be solved. If all the questions are solved the same way, for example, just by adding the two numbers in each question, children will stop reading the question and just immediately add the two numbers together. This has little value if we’re hoping to encourage our children to use logic and higher level thinking for problem solving!

Free word problem task cards with ten frames to practice word problems!

Getting Ready

To prep the addition word problems, I printed off a colored version of the word problem cards (below) onto plain cardstock and printed a second black and white version on brightly colored paper. I laminated the sheets and cut the pieces apart into individual cards.

To keep each set together, I punched holes in the top left hand corner of each card and attached them to a ring.

Free addition word problems to 20. Your kids will love using these!

To make the problem self-check, I simply added the answer in small writing on the back of each card with a fine point Sharpie.

Addition Word Problems

The children each chose one problem to work on first. Confident readers were able to work independently while others paired up to help each other, or listened as an adult read the question out loud.

Students then went through their question again in order to make sure they understood what the question was asking them. Some problems were easy for the children to solve, while others required a bit of thinking and brainstorming to be confident that they knew what to do.

Using a dry erase marker, they drew small circles in the ten frame squares in order to solve the problem, taking one part of the question at a time.

After being sure they had added all parts of the question to the ten frame, they found the total. They flipped the card over to check their answer and then used a tissue to erase their marks from the ten frames before choosing another question.

Practice addition word problems with these cute task cards!

Grab Your Set

Ready to tackle addition to 20 word problems, too?! Click the blue download button below and then hop over and grab our awesome Place Value Cover Up in our shop!

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    1. I’m glad you like them, Colleen. There’ll be subtraction story problems next month so make sure to pop back and pick those up!

  1. Love these! Printing them now to save for my first grade class next school year! Also, I love the new Playdough to Plato logo! So cute!

    1. Thanks Erica! It’s always good to have activities ready to go.

  2. I love the addition and subtraction word problems, but when I tried to print them out some of the numbers are squished together and some letters are too far apart. Any thoughts how to fix it?

    1. Sorry Debby, I’m not sure why that would happen. My only suggestion is to try a different printer, or to check if it’s printing the page as it is or if it’s trying to scale it.

  3. Hi there 🙂

    I am trying to download the addition word problems but don’t know how. Can you please help? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lauren, if you scroll down to the bottom of the post you’ll see a big blue rectangle that says ‘download here.’ If you click on that, then put in your first name and email address the printable will load onto your screen and you can click the download icon on the top right side of the screen.

  4. Hi, I cannot download your word problems to 20 addition or subtraction resources as after I put in my name and email address, it won’t let me go any further. I am happy to pay for them as I would really like to access them for a lesson I am teaching this week. Thanks.

  5. The big blue download button doesn’t do anything for me, nor Tahlia’s link (above). Am I just too late?

    1. Hi Leslie,
      When you click the blue “Download Here” button, a pop-up should open. You can try checking to make sure your browser isn’t blocking pop-ups from the site or try using a different browser. If you happen to be attempting the download at school, your district’s web filter may be blocking the pop-up. Let me know if you’re not able to get the cards!
      Sarah // Playdough to Plato Team

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